Top-Rated Free Essay

Elegy for Jane Analysis

Good Essays
Elegy For Jane By Theodore Roethke Theodore Roethke’s “Elegy for Jane” is a poem of a teacher’s reaction to the tragic death of one of his students, Jane.
The speaker expresses his sentiments to his deceased student, allotting the fact that he had developed some kind of feeling towards Jane. “Over this damp grave I speak the words of my love: I, with no rights in this matter, Neither father nor lover.” Roethke illustrates the affiliation between the speaker and his student with this line. Society views a simple connection between a student and their teacher as acceptable. A teacher may like their students, be fond of them, and enjoy their company. However, when it comes to the point of forming close emotional ties, with developing feelings of romantic love, society would strike this as unacceptable. The speaker is aware of his inappropriate relationship, and because of this, he has no right to love her and is forced to distance himself from her.
Jane was a captivating person. She had “a sidelong pickerel smile” and was a delight to converse with. The speaker often compares her to birds and plants, giving her in image of innocence, of perfection. “A wren, happy, tail into the wind, Her song trembling the twigs and small branches…Oh, when she was sad, she cast herself down into such a pure depth, Even a father could not find her.” It seems from these lines, the speaker paid close attention to every move Jane would make. He grew attracted to her ‘perfect and pure’ persona that when she died, it was difficult for him to cope.
“My sparrow, you are not here, Waiting like a fern, making a spiney shadow…If only I could nudge you from this sleep, My maimed darling, my skitter pigeon.” The ‘pet’ names he gave her, the emptiness he feels now that she is gone, it is undeniable that the speaker had a romantic attitude toward Jane. It was an innocent yet out of place love.

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    Charlotte Brontë’s novel, Jane Eyre was produced in the Victorian era, when social elitism was in its prime and there was great segregation between the upper and lower estates. The former was composed of the clergy and nobility and was defined by wealth, privileges and lavish lifestyles. The middle class, conversely, were the most frustrated by the exclusiveness of the upper estate. Possessing skill, intelligence and assertiveness, they believed that rank and power should derive from talent and merit, rather than from noble birth. Through the demonisation and infliction of a tragic downfall upon “Master Reed”, Brontë condemns the life of pleasure and honour, the lifelong inactivity so heavily indulged by those born into the aristocracy. By characterising Mr Brocklehurst as excessively and hypocritically pious, Brontë highlights the upper clergyman’s propensity to masquerade as a great nobleman, rather than to exercise the competence and benevolence integral to his role. Finally, Brontë implements a love of “servitude” and disdain for a “still … doom”, as well as the ambiguous social position of a governess in her protagonist, Jane Eyre, rendering her an agent for the middle class’ philosophy on worthiness of privilege. Ultimately, Brontë’s Jane Eyre calls for the reformation of the Victorian social structure as the extremities involved in social elitism ignore the inherent needs of man.…

    • 1068 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    She loves him way too much, and because of that, she forgets to love herself. Everything she does is in hopes of grabbing his attention. Her lack love towards herself shows when she says, “I wanted to hear him tell me that what we had was special, that I was special, and not merely some mousy girl.” (p.191). Jane’s love towards Lucky takes over and puts all her attention on him, in doing so; it blinds her from respecting herself. Jane’s much needed "acceptance" from Lucky causes her to be vulnerable, and become easily manipulated by Lucky, as she says, "I despised myself for letting my crush on Lucky make me so vulnerable." (p.163). Jane knows about how vulnerable she is to Lucky, but she chooses not to act upon in because of her love for Lucky. Jane is indeed a strong girl (p.228), but with her love for him dominates her mind, and making her forget to love…

    • 1535 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    We first encounter this relationship between Jane and Rochester during their first dramatic meeting. She encounters him when he falls off his horse and she is required to give him assistance. Jane’s first impression of his face is that ‘He had a dark face, with stern features and a heavy brow’. This may portray the dimness in his face awaiting to be enlightened by a woman which, in this case Jane. Further on in this chapter, unaware of who he is, on her return home, Jane is amazed to discover that the gentleman she assisted in the road was her employer, Mr. Edward Rochester. Jane’s future relationship with Rochester is most clearly set out in their first meeting. Although without any money, reserved and socially dependent, Jane is not afraid of this rather stern-looking man and approaches him confidently to offer her help. Rochester is given physical assistance and support, which is a target for the relationship that they may hold. In spite of her noticeable poor standard, Jane maintains the strength and power in relation to Rochester, the refusal to be dominated, which shows that she will always be the most dominating participant in this relationship.…

    • 2198 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    “Helen Burns represents a christian ideal that Jane admires but does not aspire to. Jane, with her intense awareness of self and her fierce sense of justice, could never adopt Helen’s attitude of resignation and forgiveness,” (Yuen 1). In my opinion, this statement is false because I feel that Jane eventually learns how to forgive and that she will soon start to aspire to be like Helen. For example, when she goes back to her dying aunt, even though the aunt treated her very poorly. “ Love me, then, or hate me, as you will, you have my full and free forgiveness,”(Bronte 257). A statement that I agree with in her essay is, “Through these experiences and vicissitudes Jane’s personality becomes more withdrawn, so that from the solitary child she grows into the quiet, grave young women,”(Yuen 1). I agree with this statement because when Jane was young, she was often shunned and despised by her family, but as she, she became more independent.“ I did not wish either car or carriage to meet me at Millcote. I proposed to walk the distance quietly by myself,”(Bronte 261). This quote shows how she wanted to travel by herself quietly. Through her experiences, she becomes quiet with her thoughts and becomes…

    • 715 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    He also saw the damage that she was doing to herself not only physically but emotionally as well. Her deepest thoughts were enough to tamper even the purest water. The author explained this by saying she was "stirring the clearest water." Her thoughts were filled with disgusting and self hating thoughts that were stirring up her clear view of life itself. With so much self hatred within herself she lost sight of the good that she possessed. With her joy being taken away by her depression, it was her who chose to take her own life. The author wishes that he would have done more when you were still alive; he thought that maybe that could have saved you. He wishes he "could nudge you from this sleep." Jane...the girl who was quiet, yet superior in her thoughts and ideas, the girl who never bothered anyone with her problems...was now the girl who bothered the thoughts of the author. The author said "Over this damp grave I speak the words of my love." This was not the love as in her "father nor lover" but as a man who saw the girl for who she really was. The author loved Jane's spirit and the way she was all along, which was the quiet one that no one noticed until it was too…

    • 517 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    “Jane’s relationship with Rochester in the early part of the novel is based not on love but control, manipulation and secrecy. She does well to escape”…

    • 2273 Words
    • 10 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    Jane is lonely and lives a very unsatisfying and unfulfilled life and not only does she drag herself into oblivion with her transient…

    • 567 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Best Essays

    The first glimpse of Jane’s resourcefulness and mental escape comes from one of the first activities in the novel. She escapes from her powerless place in the hostile Reed household temporarily through a book “taking care that it should be one stored with pictures” (2). She retreats to a solitary window-seat, “having drawn the red moreen curtain nearly close... shrined in double retirement,” and buries herself in Berwick’s A History of British Birds (2). The window offered protection, but not separation from the outside: “At intervals, while turning over the leaves of my book, I studied the aspect of that winter afternoon” (2). Through the images and quotes contained therein, Jane manages to acquire the only kind of power to she access to- knowledge, “Each picture told a story; mysterious often to my undeveloped understanding and imperfect feelings, yet ever profoundly interesting” (3). Her interpretation of the illustrations provides training for the young girl,…

    • 3445 Words
    • 14 Pages
    Best Essays
  • Good Essays

    Jane, “used to lie awake as a child and get more entertainment and terror out of blank walls and plain furniture than most children could find in a toy store.” revealing her sickness has been fostered before when she was left alone at night as a child. As an adult we are often left to ourselves more, and for a mentally disturbed individual the result of that loneliness can be tragic as with Jane's case. Proclaiming her success in releasing the woman she saw in the wallpaper and destruction of the paper, “‘I've got out at last,’ said I, ‘in spite of you and Jane. And I've pulled off most of the paper, so you can't put me back!’”. This unfortunate event was caused from Jane being left alone and seeing “the faint figure seemed to shake the pattern just as if she wanted to get out.” Suggesting that in spite of herself, she still released the woman she is verifies the extreme instability caused from Jane’s…

    • 402 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    An overbearing emptiness had settled in upon her and it filled her every moment with utter sadness and depression causing her to become despondent. Distant. She knew that the disappearance of her son was also having an physical affect on her as well, aches and pains now developing throughout her body as well as mood swings. It was as if the loss of Phillip had removed a large part of what was her, who she was, and replaced it with only a void of…

    • 1122 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Jane says “…Do you think I am an automaton? – A machine without feelings...Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! – I have as much soul as you – and full as much heart!”…

    • 682 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Jane Eyre Research Paper

    • 854 Words
    • 4 Pages

    In the novel Jane is not very beautiful; she’s described as being simple and ordinary. As a little girl Jane always had a passion for knowledge and life. Jane wants to be in love, and finds it when she goes…

    • 854 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    To begin, in Jane’s rough youth, she left her abusive household to attend school where she meets the cruel Mr. Brocklehurst, the supervisor of her new school, Lowood. Lowood was a great influence on Jane but her time there was not always pleasant. When she attended Lowood, Mr. Brocklehurst attempted to interrupt Jane’s quest for equality from a very young age. Firstly, Mr. Brocklehurst’s humility towards not…

    • 1369 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    She believed that these emotional stages were present throughout an individual’s experience of dying and believes, it may be suggested, all individuals facing this situation express these emotions because of the deep despair they…

    • 953 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    In the film Jane Eyre, one example of the effective use of the visual power of the film is the scene of Jane’s romantic days after Mr. Rochester proposed to her. This is the first scene in which she feels and experiences genuine happiness. The director uses a garden and beautiful weather as a setting, which shows Jane’s absolute happiness in being loved by Mr. Rochester, the person she loves most. This is important to include in the film because Jane ha grown up in a constant gloomy and atrocious environment and she hasn’t yet recognized the true feeling of being loved.…

    • 249 Words
    • 1 Page
    Satisfactory Essays